Newsom proposes another $750M to buy motels for homeless

Through Project Homekey already, 6K units of housing statewide — 1.8K in LA County — have been acquired

Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty, iStock)
Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty, iStock)

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to invest another three quarters of a billion dollars to continue a statewide program to buy hotels and apartment buildings to house the homeless.

Newsom’s proposed budget includes $750 million for Project Homekey, a program that started in the fall, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Since then, the program has paid for 6,000 units of housing across the state, including 1,800 in L.A. County.

Project Homekey sprouted from Project Roomkey, a program to temporarily house vulnerable and homeless people in hotel rooms during the initial months of the pandemic.

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It was 75 percent funded with federal coronavirus relief money. Project Roomkey was getting phased out in the winter because of uncertainty in future federal funding, but Newsom last month extended it.

If the additional funding for Project Homekey is approved, local governments will bid for grants. That money can be used to buy and rehabilitate buildings for housing or for conversion to shelters.

Last year, L.A. County and the city of Los Angeles received $270 million through Project Homekey and spent roughly $230,000 per unit for hotels and apartment buildings.

The state legislature will soon begin debating Newsom’s budget, which typically gets voted on by July. Allocations could change during debate.
Newsom’s senior adviser on homelessness, Jason Elliott, told the Times he hopes the legislature will make $250 million available for the program before July. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch